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Sea Eagles hold off late fightback to beat Sharks

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles held off a late finish from the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks to claim a 30-26 victory at Pointsbet Stadium today in round 21 of the Telstra Premiership.

Five first half tries saw the Sea Eagles take a commanding 24-0 lead at half-time before three converted tries in four minutes inside the final 10 minutes produced a grandstand finish with Manly holding on to take a vital two competition points to keep their finals hopes alive.

Unfortunately for the Sea Eagles, props Taniela Paseka (MCL knee) and Josh Aloiai (shoulder) suffered injuries that will keep them out for a significant time with scans scheduled for Monday.

New prop Matthew Lodge became the 648th player to play first grade for the Sea Eagles after making his Club debut.

Lodge came on in the fifth minute to replace prop Taniela Paseka, who suffered a knee injury after being twisted in a tackle.

Two minutes later, the Sea Eagles were in through prop Josh Aloiai after he split the defence from a short pass for a 4-0 lead.

You beauty...Josh Aloiai goes over for Manly's opening try at Pointsbet Stadium
You beauty...Josh Aloiai goes over for Manly's opening try at Pointsbet Stadium ©NRL Photos

The Sea Eagles jumped to a handy lead when hooker Lachlan Croker pounced on a kick inside from half-back Daly Cherry-Evans to score behind the posts. Reuben Garrick converted for a 10-0 lead after 20 minutes.

A wicked bounce from a kick from Manly five-eighth Josh Schuster saw second-rower Haumole Olakau√°tu swoop on the ball to score for a 14-0 lead after 28 minutes.

Match Highlights: Sharks v Sea Eagles

A beautiful cut out pass from Cherry-Evans as he spun in a tackle saw the ball find winger Jason Saab who flicked it back inside for centre Tolu Koula to juggle and score. Garrick converted from out wide into a strong wind for a 20-0 lead after 33 minutes.

The dynamic duo...Lachlan Croker and Daly Cherry-Evans celebrate the hooker's try.
The dynamic duo...Lachlan Croker and Daly Cherry-Evans celebrate the hooker's try. ©NRL Photos

A nice play down the right side inside the final 10 seconds saw Saab deliver a great pass to send Garrick on a 25 metre run to the line to give Manly a commanding 24-0 lead at half-time.

After soaking under some early defensive pressure on their line, the Sea Eagles capitalised on a great 40/20 by Croker with Koula splitting the defence to score his second try. Garrick converted for a 30-0 lead after 45 minutes.

The Sharks hit back a minute later when full-back William Kennedy put winger Ronaldo Mulitalo over in the corner for a 30-4 scoreline.

Cronulla made it back to back tries when winger Sione Katoa finished off a backline play to dive over in the 59th minute to leave the Sharks trailing 30-8.

The Sea Eagles were then dealt another injury blow when Aloiai left the field.

The Sharks then scored three converted tries in four minutes through Cameron McInnes, Jesse Ramien and Kennedy to get back to 30-26 with six minutes remaining.

The Sea Eagles dug deep in the final minutes to hold off the Sharks to take victory.

Round 21: Post Match Press Conference


Acknowledgement of Country

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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